Blooming Tea on an Almost-Spring Day

One of my unofficial New Year’s Resolutions was to enjoy at least one cup of tea outdoors each day. So far, I’ve neglected this practice, but in my defense, I always forget how bitter cold February can be in Michigan. I’m not sure any amount of cabin fever can drive me outdoors in ten-degree weather just for a ten-minute cup of tea. But, March is here now. The sun is shining, the snow is melting, the ground is thawing, and warmer temperatures are finally luring me outdoors again. As springtime creeps in again, I find myself reaching for blooming teas, and most recently I enjoyed the Black Gold Blooming Tea from California Tea House.

Continue reading Blooming Tea on an Almost-Spring Day

Word of Intent: Joy

The last memory I have of 2020 is Oliver kicking me in the back as he tried to keep himself from falling asleep. I don’t know who dozed off first– him or me– but when I woke up, it was 2:30 AM in 2021. I missed the opportunity to say “so long, sucker!” to 2020 and usher in the New Year with a strange sense of optimism.

Normally, I have a long list of resolutions that I post this time of year, and ultimately all are abandoned by the end of January, so this year I decided to forego that and instead adopt a word of intent. I tried to do this last year, but ironically, the word I chose for 2020 was “explore”.

Continue reading Word of Intent: Joy

This is Not a Glamorous Post About Tea or Motherhood

I may have romanticized my gongfucha sessions– written about how it’s a meditative practice that lets me decompress while exploring tea more intimately. And some days, my gongfucha sessions are exactly that. But, most days it is just a tea brewing method no different than brewing tea western-style with a cup infuser. Most days, it just keeps my hands busy and my mind focused on work when I would rather be lounging on the couch, playing video games. Some days, it is a fleeting refuge between my toddler’s tantrums. On days like that, I like to steep familiar teas, like the Yunnan Golden Buds (Dian Hong) from California Tea House, which was most recently sipped while hiding beside the refrigerator and out of my toddler’s line of vision. (Surely I’m not the only mother that does this? On second thought…don’t answer that).

Continue reading This is Not a Glamorous Post About Tea or Motherhood

Finding Elegance in a Cup of Assam

Assam tea is a staple in my stash. No specific vendor, no specific estate— just something labeled “Assam” that produces a consistent, stick-to-your-ribs malty tea, which I dress up with milk and sugar. It’s never been anything special, but it always offers a certain kind of comfort— especially on cold winter mornings. Enter the Harmutty Estate Assam STGFOP (which is just a fancy way of saying “the good stuff”) from Chado Tea. It has challenged every experience I’ve had with Assam tea.

Continue reading Finding Elegance in a Cup of Assam

Oh My Darjeeling

I am unkempt hair and peanut butter jeans. Crayon scribbles on the walls and desk and couch. Teetering piles of work and dishes that still need to be put away. Oversteeped breakfast blends tamed with honey and milk are much better suited for me. But, once in a while, I make time to indulge in a cup of Darjeeling tea– a tea that feels so elegant I pull down the fine china from the cupboards and sip from dainty tea cups instead of tea stained novelty mugs.

Continue reading Oh My Darjeeling

Earl Grey Supreme from Harney & Sons

I associate Earl Grey tea with the Autumn and Winter months. With mornings when I wake up before the sun, where there is a cold nip in the air, and the clouds hang heavy in the sky. We have had plenty of Earl Grey mornings lately even though it’s only the beginning of September and still technically summer. Is it just me, or does it seem like Autumn is rolling in early this year? You won’t find any complaints about that here; I live for Autumn! Plus, it just means I get to break out my Earl Grey a little earlier. The first Earl Grey of the season was Earl Grey Supreme from Harney & Sons.

Continue reading Earl Grey Supreme from Harney & Sons

Back to Hogwarts with THE BOY WHO…tea from Adagio Teas

It’s September 1st, which means the Hogwarts Express departed without fail from Platform Nine and Three Quarters today. I can’t help but reflect on how this magical story has been in my life for TWENTY years, now. I never could have suspected the impact this series would have on me the day I pulled this book* randomly from one of the shelves at Walden Books. I held it in my hands, staring at the artwork almost debating whether to spend my allowance money on it or not. A mother passed by me, and seeing the book in my hands, told me the book I held was an incredible story. That was enough to convince me to bring it home with me, so thank you Random Mother who convinced me to buy Harry Potter back in 1999.

*This book actually being Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. My experience with book series back then was the Boxcar Children, Fear Street novels, and the Time Warp Trio. I had no idea there were series that were meant to be read in order!

Today couldn’t be a more perfect Back-to-Hogwarts day here in Michigan either; 67 degrees, overcast, and occasionally drizzly. The perfect day to cozy up and enjoy the Harry Potter marathon on television while sipping THE BOY WHO…tea from Adagio Teas. THE BOY WHO… tea is one of the fandom teas blended by Cara McGee. It is a blend of Black Tea, Ginger, Cloves, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Natural Pumpkin Spice Flavor, Natural Caramel Flavor, Marigold Flowers & Natural Cinnamon Flavor.

I can easily see black tea leaves, ginger pieces, cinnamon pieces, and cloves. I don’t see cardamom as I expected despite it being high on the ingredient list. The dry tea smells warm and inviting and most prominently of clove and cardamom.

I brewed this tea a little differently this time. Typically, I would steep the tea leaves in hot water and then add milk and sugar, but this time I steeped the tea leaves directly in milk. I put two teaspoons of tea into one cup of milk in a saucepan, brought it to a boil, and then steeped for about 3-4 minutes. I added sugar to taste.

I find that this tea isn’t as spicy as one would expect considering the ingredient list, and I’ve steeped it both in water and in milk. That being said, I still find this blend enjoyable and appropriate for Autumn. The black tea and the pumpkin flavor were the most prominent flavors, followed by cardamom and ginger. I much prefer steeping this tea in milk (as opposed to steeping in water and then adding milk). It adds a creaminess and mouthfeel that cannot be achieved if this tea were to be steeped in water. It has me reconsidering how I steep any of my spiced chais.

Already tried THE BOY WHO…tea? Check out these other tasTEA recommendations:

If you love Harry Potter, what is your favorite book from the series? For me, it’s hard to choose. It’s a toss-up between books 1, 3, and 5! It’s possible I love those three equally, albeit for different reasons.

Keeping Cozy with the Reading Nook Blend

Michigan has enjoyed a warm Autumn this year– “warm” being a relative term; although, temperatures did peak at a toasty 70 degrees on Friday. Of course, they also plummeted to the 30s on Saturday, and we experienced our first snowfall of the season. But that’s the north for ya’.

Most of my co-workers are grumbling about the weather, but I’m a bit of an odd duck; I actually look forward to the cold season. Admittedly, I’ll probably spend the next five months white-knuckling it as I drive my tiny Ford Fiesta amongst maniac SUV drivers along poorly plowed, snowy roads. Still, there is a lot to look forward to when the cold settles in…

Like Thanksgiving, for example! It’s my favorite holiday because it involves one of my favorite pastimes– feasting. And, the world gets a little quieter this time of year because people stay indoors and blankets of snow muffle noise pollution; as an introvert, I appreciate this. It’s also an ideal time of year for soups and stews and roasts and mugs of hot tea or hot cocoa. Perhaps best of all, it’s my favorite kind of reading weather! I love spending the weekend afternoons cozying up in blankets with a mug of hot tea and a good book, and I recently found a most appropriate tea for afternoons just like this– the Reading Nook Blend by Plum Deluxe Tea.

The Reading Nook Blend is a black tea blended with rosebuds, lavender, chamomile, love, gratitude, and natural flavor, and when served with a drizzle of honey, it has the power to whisk you away to warmer and sunnier days. It’s like liquid Springtime. The Book Nook Blend is as fragrant and floral as the ingredients would lead you to believe, but it doesn’t overpower the palate. The label indicates this tea “pairs with creativity, reading, and writing”, which I most definitely agree, but I’d also like to add that it pairs with cozy mystery novels and the TV series Rosemary and Thyme.

A sample of the Reading Nook Blend was provided for free in exchange for an honest review. And honestly, it was delicious.

For the Loyal: a Harry Potter Fandom Tea

I believe I’ve never sipped a tea more tempting than the For the Loyal tea, a fandom blend by Aun-Juli Riddle, which can be purchased from Adagio Teas. And when I say “tempting”, I mean I could barely resist throwing aside all of my reading obligations just to re (re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re) read the Harry Potter series. I stayed strong though.

I don’t care what the relaunch of the Pottermore Sorting Hat quiz suggests. I am not a Gryffindor (I’m afraid of the dark among most other things in this world); I am a Hufflepuff! So, without a doubt, I knew I had to have this tea. For the Loyal is a blend of black tea, white tea, apple pieces, natural apricot flavor, apricots, natural peach flavor, marigold flowers, natural vanilla flavor, and cinnamon.

If For the Loyal could be turned into a candle, I would buy all of them just so I could make my apartment smell like the Hufflepuff Common Room. At least, I assume it smells sweet vanilla and fruit anyway. What I’m trying to say is, the scent of this tea is so warm and inviting (two characteristics of most Hufflepuffs, amiright?).

For the Loyal is another tea that I prefer cool-to-cold instead of hot (like the coconut tea) because the flavor is more pronounced. The scent of the dried leaves was vibrant, so I expected layers of bold flavors, but when hot, the flavors just sort of run together– it’s not particularly fruit or creamy or spicy. When it cools down though, you can taste a hint of fruity apricot and apple. I also taste hints of something floral, but I think that might be the cinnamon playing tricks on my tastebuds.

Have you tried any of the Harry Potter fandom teas? Which one is your favorite?

Sample provided by Adagio Tea for free in exchange for an honest review.